Redemption Along the High Road

Why Obama should not match Clinton's tricks.

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

On Monday night I had dinner with my friend and colleague James Cone, the father of black liberation theology. I expressed to him my fears that the smear machine would defeat Barack and that it might be time to fight back with every dirty secret and low tactic possible. Cone put down his fork, looked at me unblinking and said, “Melissa, you must remember that undeserved suffering is redemptive.”

We cannot abandon the high road just because it is rocky. We must peer even harder into our unknowable future to try to see a beloved community that is outlined there. Nobody promised us a crystal stair, but it is time to keep climbing.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell is an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University.